Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2: Writer: Allan Heinberg. Pencils: Jim Cheung.
Review: This issue picks up from last issue's cliffhanger, with Magneto introducing himself to the Young Avengers and stating that he wants to help Wiccan and Speed find their mother, the Scarlet Witch(who also happens to be Magneto's daughter). While Wiccan seems moved by Magneto, Patriot(and most of the rest of the Young Avengers)don't trust Magneto. Before Wiccan can say yes or no, the Avengers attack Magneto, with Wolverine telling Magneto that he was warned to stay away from the kids. Wiccan tries to explain to the Avengers that Magneto wasn't trying to abduct the Young Avengers, only talk to them, but the Avengers refuse to hear him out. Wiccan is shocked by the Avengers antics, and Magneto explains that they don't want Wanda found, because if she was found, she'd have to be killed. Magneto then cautions Wiccan, telling him that once Wiccan and his teammates step out of line, they'd find themselves in the Avengers cross hairs. Wolverine punctuates Magneto's point by attacking Wiccan, who is saved by Magneto. Hulkling decides to get Wiccan out of the fray, but Spider-Man approaches the two boys and warns them not to entertain the idea of listening to Magneto. Ms. Marvel approaches the boys and pretty much threatens them, telling them if they try to stand against the Avengers they'd be put down hard. While the Avengers, Magneto and Young Avengers battle it out in the streets below, Wiccan decides he's had enough and teleports his teammates and Magneto away from the battle, leaving the Avengers confused and a bit angry. As for Magneto and the Young Avengers, Wiccan teleports them to Wundagore Mountain, the birthplace of the Scarlet Witch, figuring that would be the ideal place to start the search. Several of the Young Avengers are STILL not pleased that they went against the Avengers and were teaming with Magneto(most notably Patriot), but Wiccan and Speed seem to be fully under Magneto's thrall by this point. The group heads to the grave of Magda, Magneto's wife and Wanda's mother, hoping that Wiccan would be able to use his magic to locate Wanda. Wiccan, Speed and Magneto join hands and Wiccan believes that he had located Wanda in a nearby village, which causes Speed to impulsively take off to locate Wanda. While running through the village at top speed, Speed runs into Quicksilver(!). Quicksilver warns Speed to collect his friends and leave, lest they want Quicksilver to kill them as he intends to do to Magneto. By this point Magneto and the Young Avengers arrive on the scene and Magneto tries to reason with his estranged son. Quicksilver will hear none of it and demands that Magneto release the children, to which Wiccan explains that the Young Avengers had chosen to follow Magneto. Upon hearing that, Quicksilver grabs Wiccan and runs off with him. Wiccan tells Quicksilver that instead of fighting, they should all team up to find Wanda, but Quicksilver refuses, stating that as long as his father was with the Young Avengers, he wouldn't join their cause. Quicksilver does tell Wiccan that he'd be more than happy to work with Wiccan to find Wanda. By now Speed has arrived on the scene and after some bantering goads Quicksilver into racing him to see who was faster(much to Wiccan's annoyance). While the two white-haired speedsters race, the ground lifts up from under Quicksilver, announcing the presence of his father. That does it for Quicksilver, who runs around the village, grabs a bunch of wooden stakes and throws them at Magneto as fast as he can. Magneto and the Young Avengers manage to avoid the projectiles, but unfortunately, a townswoman(who happens to look EXACTLY like Wanda)is impaled by one of the stakes and falls to the ground. The Young Avengers rush to the stricken woman's side and realize that she was actually a robot... And not only was she a robot, but she was a disguised Doombot(!!), causing the gathered characters to realize that the reason nobody had been able to locate Wanda was because she was almost definitely a prisoner of Dr. Doom!!
What I Thought: Well, this was probably the best single issue I've read all year. From the opening battle against the Avengers, to the COMPLETELY out of left field revelation that Doom probably had Wanda, this comic was perfect. Sorry Shadowland and Red Hood: Lost Days, but for my money, THIS mini-series is the BEST mini-series of the year, and we're only 2 issues in with 7 more to go!! I really can't think of a single flaw in this book... Maybe the Avengers acted kind of rashly towards the kids, but even that is sort of understandable considering it looked as if they were conspiring with Magneto. Besides that, this comic was perfect. The art was great, the story had my full attention from the first page to the last, and the dialogue was perfectly done. Every character “sounded” exactly how they should have. Magneto was sympathetic, while also leaving the reader with just the slightest amount of doubt that he was acting in the Young Avengers best interests. The Avengers were portrayed perfectly(Spider-Man tried to reason with the kids, Wolverine wanted to attack first and talk later, Ms. Marvel was annoying, etc), as was Quicksilver, who as usual was acting before thinking. And then there was the Young Avengers... Unsurprisingly Allan gave each character the perfect voice. While this mini-series is obviously centered around Wiccan(and to a slightly lesser extent, Speed), every single one of the other Young Avengers received a moment or two of serious character development. Stature and Vision, Patriot and Hawkeye, Hulkling and Wiccan, each character had their own ideas, plans and wishes, as well as their own time to shine. If only every comic book contained this sort of character development... As you can probably tell by how long the review was, as well as my thoughts on this comic, I REALLY enjoyed this book. I could easily go on for another several paragraphs detailing just how much I loved this comic, but I won't. Instead I'll post the score(which shouldn't be a HUGE surprise!)as well as several scans from the comic. That's right, SEVERAL scans! I liked this comic so much I couldn't decide on just one page to post. I CAN'T wait for the next issue!!!
Score: 10 out of 10.Who wouldn't want Magneto as their grandfather?!?
Yet another example of Wolverine being a jerk...
Huh, I'd forgotten just how much I like Speed... He was a riot in this comic!
Not only is this page beautiful, the dialogue is pretty funny... If you really think about it. BTW, this picture is now my windows desktop background.
Yeah, next issue can't come out soon enough...